THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
CLOSING DOORS TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE

Blue Cross’s shameful response to access study

July 31, 2011

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I APPLAUD the creativity of the authors of the study cited in “Mental care can be hard to find’’ (Metro, July 21). It validates what we in the field have heard for years. But it appears that Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Jay McQuaide is unmoved by evidence, dismissing the study as if it were fabricated to pressure health plans to pay clinicians more.

Shame on him for ignoring a study that had the same findings as one that was released by, of all things, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts on Oct. 9, 2009. That study said, “Stakeholders, advocates, pediatricians, and families report difficulties in finding clinicians, receiving timely appointments, and recruiting clinicians to their workplaces. . . . Many Massachusetts provider practices are full, particularly child psychiatry practices. . . . Providers consistently cite low rates of reimbursement, administrative burden, and significant time on unreimbursed care coordination.’’

What is “frankly disappointing’’ about Blue Cross’s response is that it seems to show more concern for money than it does for consumers. What a nightmare it must be for Blue Cross that this is how their own spokesman chooses to represent their values.

Stephen Slaten
Worcester
The writer, a licensed clinical psychologist, is executive director of Jewish Family Service of Worcester.